Psalm 150 not only completes Book 5 of the Psalms (tehillim), but is the last of all the Psalms. As such, its themes are particularly important as a summation – a vision – of what our central intention should be in prayer and liturgical song. The Psalms cover a huge range of human experience and emotion, including anger, pain, doubt, sorrow, yearning, hope, pleading, revenge, wonder, as well as – of course – praise and thanksgiving. Psalm 150 focuses on hallel ‘praise’, a word used many times in this text. While musical settings of this text are often loud, or loud and fast, I imagine this text as arising from a deep sense of inner quietness and gratitude.
This piece was first performed at the 44th Jewish-Christian Bible Week at Haus Ohrbeck in Germany (2012). It is dedicated to Betty Wainer, my mother-in-law, who passed on three weeks earlier.
- Hallelujah! Praise God in his sanctuary! Praise him in the firmament of his power!
- Praise him for his mighty acts! Praise him according to his exceeding greatness!
- Praise him with the sound of the shofar! Praise him with the harp and the lyre!
- Praise him with the tambourine and dance! Praise him with stringed instruments and the pipe!
- Praise him with sounding cymbals! Praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
- Let every thing that breathes praise the Lord! Hallelujah!